Things You'll Need
Sprigs of fresh herbs (optional)
Lemon juice (optional)
Pepper, paprika, herbs and spices (optional)
Smoker or charcoal grill
Smoker box (optional)
Small aluminum pan
The oily texture and strong flavor of mullet make it a good choice for smoking. This indirect cooking method imparts a smoky flavor to the fish and takes several hours to complete. You can smoke mullet yourself in a specially designed smoker or in a charcoal grill with a lid; it makes a tasty main dish or an appetizer.
Mix 1 cup of kosher or sea salt per 1 gallon of water in a large pot. Add sprigs of fresh herbs, a few splashes of lemon juice and/or whole cloves to taste.
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Cut off the fish heads at the gills, then butterfly the fish by cutting them down the back to the tail. Clean the guts, and optionally remove the backbone for more even smoking.
Rinse the fish in cool running water.
Marinate the mullet in the saltwater brine for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. The salty solution imparts flavor to the fish and keeps it from getting soft during the smoking process.
Remove the fish from the brine solution and rinse them with cold water.
Dry the mullet, skin side down, overnight in the refrigerator to form a pellicle of tacky skin on the surface, which helps prevent them from drying out while smoking.
Rub the dry fish with vegetable oil and your favorite spice rub or some pepper, paprika and other spices for added flavor.
Smoking Mullet in a Smoker
Soak wood chips overnight in water. Use the chips of your choice, such as hickory, apple wood or mesquite.
Drain and place the soaked chips in your smoker, either on a rack or in a smoker box above your heat source.
Add water to your smoker to keep the fish moist.
Lay the fish in a single layer, skin side down, on a mesh rack.
Set the temperature to 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
Smoke for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Smoking Mullet in a Charcoal Grill
Soak wood chips overnight in water. Use the chips of your choice such as hickory, apple wood or mesquite.
Place hot coals on one side of your grill.
Pour the water into a small aluminum pan. Place it on the other side of your coals to keep the fish moist while smoking.
Drain and wrap the wood chips in aluminum foil and poke several holes in the packet of foil to produce smoke.
Place the foil-wrapped wood chips over the hot coals.
Put the mullet in a single layer, skin-side-down, on the side of the grill that is away from the coals.
Close the grill and vent it slightly.
Smoke for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
If using an electric or gas grill, place the foil-wrapped wood chips next to the fish on the grill and cover. Set the temperature to between 150 and 160 F.
Store smoked mullet for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator at 40 F or below.
Smoke your mullet to a minimum internal temperature of 145 F to kill off any parasites or bacteria in the fish, recommends Foodsafety.gov.
Always soak your wood chips in water for at least a few hours before using them to smoke. Otherwise, they may catch on fire.
- The Mostly Mullet Cookbook: A Culinary Celebration of the South's Favorite Fish (and Other Great Southern Seafood); George Griffin
- Florida Museum of Natural History: Striped Mullet
- The St. Augustine Record: Smoker Might Be Best Choice for Those Mullet
- Foodsafety.gov: Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures
- Shelf Life Advice: Fish
- Meats and Sausages: Mullet
- Southern Living: Smoked Mullet